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Archive for the 'Eucharist' Category

Fear has big eyes. It sees everything as a threat and so controls our thoughts and destroys our hopes. In this sense it becomes an idol. We invest it with meaning above everything else - including the Love that God has for us and what He gives us. It directs our thoughts, makes our decisions and drives our actions. It may slow us down but it is not a holy stillness or silence that allows for an encounter with God and an experience of His grace. Rather, it paralyzes us; prevents us from reaching out to the One who seeks for us at every moment. Instead of being lifted up by Love we remain earthbound; unable to break free of the moorings of our fears. Our vision becomes warped and we are prevented from seeing His Eucharistic Face. We are everything to Him and yet we minimize the King of the Universe.

Any importance given to person and things reduces God's presence and activity within the soul," writes St. John of the Cross. God wants to protect me from being so deeply wrapped up in people and things that I push Him out. Through preoccupation with what He has created, I can effectively cover Him up.

My life will always be quite topsy-turvy if I have more regard for people and things than for our Eucharistic Lord. I can get so wrapped up in my possessions that they begin to take me over to my detriment. I get so drawn away from God that I scarcely relate to the Eucharistic One.
I can get so absorbed in my work, it can be like a drug. Workaholics suffer by pushing God out. Results become my spur. In being so attached to them, I marginalize the Eucharist. I don't hand over my concern about the results to Him. That is odd since it is He who determines the outcome.
St. John of the Cross tells us that the more we identify ourselves with things, the more we become subservient to them. I get so wrapped up in my surroundings, I drive God into the outskirts. So we all suffer when the living Eucharistic God actually disappears from my daily life as if He doesn't exist at all.
Fear has big eyes, according to the proverb. What I fear can grow enormously, engulfing me so that both the world and our Eucharistic Redeemer cease to matter in these moments. Yet He is in the Eucharist for me and the world. Fear alone exists and that becomes like an idol for me. My attitude to an idol can either be that of adoring love or fearful rejection.
The more I marginalize God, the more I suffer from fear and haste. It is not just that I need to slow down. Slowing down can still be haste if I am continually earthbound. Real lack of haste is silence within me. It involves searching for fulfillment in Eucharistic Love. If I am just thirsting for exclusively earthly love, acting very slowing goes on impeding God's grace. Allowing my life to be centered on the One who daily comes onto our altars is the only way to save men from the deprivation of anxiety, sadness, and feverish activity.
I may declare I best find God in nature, yet it is by no means certain I am looking for God in this pastime. It is true that trees are God's gift, yet I can get into a trap if I focus more on them than on God. They blur my vision, drowning me in the forest by diverting my focus away from the pursuit of amazing Eucharistic Love. I need to avoid making love of nature my final goal. The great and beautiful forest can conceal my Eucharistic, hidden God who is always longing and searching for me.
Where am I going? Should I not change direction? After all, if I receive the grace to believe in the Creator not just of trees and animals but also of galaxies rushing into infinity, then I may get engrossed in His love. It may happen that as I look at the star-filled sky, I will simply pray. I may not be asking for anything but I will be adoring God. Humbly looking in faith includes adoration. Maybe I will be led on beyond the lit-up sky to see my own smallness in contrast to the greatness of the Only One. Maybe I will not just stay in this thought but go on to embrace the inner core of it. Maybe I will hold onto God's greatness in His very personal, supportive power and love. After all, these great things are not just there for me to look at with powerful telescopes. The wonders of the universe are an invitation to draw close to Him in adoring amazement. Everything created should impel me toward incomprehensible Eucharistic Love.
My prayer of adoration should always more or less lead me to God's amazing reality. It is He who is adored in the Eucharist; it is He who is worshiped by choirs of angels. God is always so amazing. However, we need discerning eyes of faith with worshiping hearts inspired by His superabundant miracles. These point to His never-ending love for me. He wants to give me unending opportunities. He wants me to respond at least to some of this truth; He wants me to worship the Eucharist maybe in the words, "You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power..." (Apoc. 4:11).  He superabundantly reveals His glory to inspire me to some adoration of the real Master of the Universe.  On the Eucharistic altar He always reigns supreme.
I still minimize the King of the Universe. In my everyday life I undervalue the Eucharistic One. Yet my participation in the Mass is a vital part of my life. I frequently ask how it is that I don't make the Infinite One more important, especially on account of His miraculously incomprehensible Eucharistic love. Why don't I change in a radical way? I am everything to Him; I am the one who is unique to Him; He just wants me to share in His eternal glory.
Fr. Tadeusz Dajczer
Amazing Nearness

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Last night the School of St. Philip Neri enjoyed a wonderful evening together as we discussed Philip's counsel on the preparation for and reception of Holy Communion.  Once again Philip proved to be a wise teacher and guide and we found ourselves greatly challenged to approach the altar with humility and awe and to seek to shape a life that is truly Eucharistic centered.  Below is the podcast of the event and the text we considered from "The School of St. Philip Neri" translated by Fr. Faber.

The following Lessons, of which today’s post is the second, are chiefly addressed to those Christians who, having well studied the life and virtues of the glorious Father St. Philip Neri, are eager to feel a strong devotion to him, and to adopt him as their advocate and intercessor with God, in all their spiritual and temporal necessities. It is my hope to explore these Lessons in depth in the years to come with the Secular Oratorians of Pittsburgh in order that we might all come to know St. Philip more personally and see the beauty of his spirituality and his love for God.

Saint Philip Neri, like all the great priest-saints, was so devoted to confession (as described in the first Lesson) precisely because of his love for the Holy Eucharist. He wanted everyone to love Christ as he deserves to be loved and to receive him worthily and fruitfully. Everything he did, from preaching, catechesis, and his work with youth to confession and spiritual direction, had one end — to lead people to union with Christ in the Holy Eucharist.

Furthermore, Saint Philip knew and taught that charity in all its manifestations flows directly from the Eucharist and leads the Christian back to a more perfect offering of the sacrifice. In other words, for Philip the Eucharist, in a sense, was perpetuated in time and manifested its fruitfulness whenever his penitents visited the sick or helped the poor. Saint Philip teaches us that the spiritual life is one and that the Eucharist is the integrating center of everything that a person does.

In a time when the Eucharist is received indiscriminately and often without preparation or with a response of gratitude and increased spiritual fervor, St. Philip remains a wonderful guide.

We cannot adequately speak of the wonderful effects of which Holy Communion produces in those who frequently and worthily communicate. They may be tasted, but never expressed. Let us taste, and see how sweet is the Bread of Angels. It will stimulate us to know, that through the frequent participation of this Most Divine Sacrament, many penitents of our holy Father became men of holy life and the highest perfection. Our holy Father himself refers to this in his letter addressed to Madonna Fiore: “I desire that you may flourish, that is, that the flower (a play on her name) may produce good fruit, the fruit of humility, the fruit of patience, the fruit of all virtues, and that you should be the abode and receptacle of all virtues, as frequent communicants are wont to be.” The holy Master, therefore, wished that not only the Priests, but also the lay-brothers, should frequently receive this Most Holy Sacrament, following his own practice as a layman, which was to communicate every morning. On becoming a Priest, he offered Mass daily, and even when ill, he communicated every morning.

The same rule respecting time cannot be given to all as it depends on the pleasure of the Confessor. Some penitents of the holy Father communicated every eight days, many on every Festival, others three times a week, and some, though few, every day.

When any one is about to communicate, let him ask permission of his Confessor and tell him some days before. St. Philip wished that penitents should do this three or four days become Communion; and he also said, that no one should communicate without the permission of his Confessor, since, frequently to communicate out of our own heads, might occasion great temptations which could not always be resisted.

We must approach this holy banquet with great desire, and always with some particular motive of devotion, not from custom or routine, according to the intention of St. Philip, who, when his spiritual children asked permission to communicate, “Sitientes, Sitientes, venire ad aquas.” He wished that they should first acquire the thirst, and then approach the Fountain of Eternal Life.

Although no preparation for Communion can ever be called sufficient, we must nevertheless take care never to approach this Holy Bread negligently, or through habit, but use all possible preparation. Some penitents of the hoy Master went with the Saint on Saturday nights, and on the Vigil of Festivals, either to the Church of the Dominicans, or that of the Capuchins, where they assisted in Choir with the Friars at Matins, spending the whole night, as the Sacred Legend says, in preparation for Holy Communion on the morrow.

The holy Master says, that whoever goes to Holy Communion should follow the spirit which he had in prayer, and not seek for new meditations. he should also prepare for more temptations than usual, for the Lord will not suffer him to remain idle. In the act of receiving the Most Holy Sacrament, let him imitate the holy Master, who, when about to communicate, said with all affection, “O Lord, I protest that I am good for nothing but to do evil;” and when receiving the Holy Viaticum, he repeated “Domine, no sum dignus,” with extreme devotion, saying, “O my Lord, I am not worthy, neither was I ever worthy. I have never done any good.” The holy Master exhorts us to ask in Communion a remedy for that vice to which we are most inclined. After Holy Communion, He exhorts us to preserve a devout remembrance of the great favor which we have received in being made partakers of the Heavenly Food, and show ourselves reverently grateful to the Divine Goodness. So much did the holy Father insist on this, that when his spiritual children communicated, he made them perform some additional act of devotion for some days after, that they might derive fruit from the Sacrament, such as to recite the Pater and Ave with extended arms, or some little chaplet of these prayers, which he himself taught (of which we shall speak in the Lesson on devotion), or other similar things. On a Communion-day, we must try to perform some extra work of piety, since St. Philip, having communicated his spiritual children, sent them to different hospitals to visit and serve the sick, respecting which visits and service, instruction will be given in another Lesson of this Book.

The School of Saint Philip Neri by Giuseppe Crispino
This major work by F Giuseppe Crispino, a Neapolitan secular priest of the 17th century, covering all aspects of Oratorian spirituality and life, was originally translated by Fr Faber in 1850.


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